IN T R O D UC ING EN G L ISH L IN G U IST IC( MEYER )
IN ST R U C TOR : D R . FAT EMI
C H A PT ER : F IVE
PR ESEN T ER : MA RYAM N O O R I K H O R A SA N I
This chapter is concerned with English syntax, how word are grouped
within sentences ,phrases and clauses
Form and function
Formal and notional definitions
Linear hierarchical structure
description of rules of grammar.
The study of rules in which how words are combined
instead of describing why particular structures are used in specific contexts
, the discussion will focus more explicitly on how particular constructions are formed
syntax is the notion of constituency: the idea that syntactic units are not
simply arbitrarily grouped and ordered but form identifiable units
syntacticians have identified four different levels of structure
at which constituents can occur:
sentences → clauses → phrases → words
To identify constituents, it is possible to apply specific tests
Substitution test:.if a word such as pronun could substitute for a group of words the groups of
words is a constituent
Ali bought a new car
insertion test:One test for constituents involves the insertion of a moveable adverb into the
a picture of flower hung on the wall
we have insertion, substitution, and movement tests for testing constituent
these test show that at the level of syntax, certain structures form units but others do not.
Those structures that do form units are not an arbitrary This constructions form the building
blocks of English syntax.
Grammatical descriptions are two types: formal or notional.
Formal descriptions focus on specific characteristics of a grammatical
Notional definition in contrast, are more semantic in nature and define constructions in
terms of general qualities that they possess
Consider the word truck
example for formally description: Noun in English is something that has the ability to be
pluralized by the addition of s
Truck is a noun because it has this ability
Notionally, nouns are defined as anything that is a person, place, thing, or idea
Truck is a noun because it is a “thing.”
Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe
readers or listener who analyze the sentences (to. identify nouns, verbs, and so
forth), often rely on formal definitions of grammatical categories rather than on
how constructions are analyzed depends crucially upon where they occur in a
sentence or clause in relation to other construction
While some kind of notional, or semantic, analysis can complement purely formal
analyses, notional analyses alone are way too vague to provide definitive definitions
of grammatical construction
consider the expression foreign language specialist
two different meanings depending upon how the words in the expression are grouped
The linear and hierarchical structuring of constituents
How foreign language specialist is interpreted depends not just on how the words are ordered
but upon whether language is grouped with foreign Or Specialist
Groupings of this nature constitute the core of English syntax, and along with constrain on
the linear order of constituents they allow linguistics to describe the form and function of various
kinds of constructions in English.
Constituents can be described in terms of their form and their function. In the clause The child
is healthy, healthy has the form of an adjective phrase and the function of a subject
The form of some constituents can be determined by the particular suffixes that they contain
as well as their positions relative to other constituents
analysis reveals that constituents have forms at all four levels of structure
Word Classes: noun, verb, adjective, adverb,
Phrases: noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase, prepositional phrase
Clauses: main, dependent
Sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative, exclamatory
English has far fewer functions, and these functions are restricted to elements occurring within
clauses (both main and subordinate).
The functions below are often referred to as clause functions
the child road a bike
the child road a bike
Complement (subject and object)
the child is healthy
Object (direct and indirect)
the child road a bike
A phrase is named after the word class that acts as head of the phrase.
A head is a word upon which everything in a phrase is centered and show the grammatical role
of the phrase
In a phrase such as full of hope, for instance, all parts of the phrase are associated with the
adjective full. Therefore, this construction is called an adjective phrase.
in the phrase might have mattered, everything is associated with
the lexical verb mattered, making this a verb phrase.
word classes and phrases are so closely linked that there are cases where a single word
can constitute a phrase. In the sentence Necessity is the mother of invention,
necessity is both a noun and a noun phrase. It is a noun, because it contains the suffix -ity,
All noun phrases (NPs) are centered on either a head noun or pronoun
One key characteristic of noun is that most exhibit number they have a singular or plural form
often marked in writing by orthographic s.
Nouns have traditionally been distinguished as being count or noncount.
Count nouns are literally “countable
While it is possible for a noun phrase to contain only a single head noun or pronoun, other
form classes can optionally occur before or after the head noun.
verb phrase contains two components: an obligatory lexical verb “full verb,” which
acts as head of the verb phrase, and one or more optional auxiliary verb
THAT POST-VERBAL NOUN PHRASES SUCH AS MY
THE TWO NOUN PHRASES AND THE VERB PHRASE
ARE SEPARATE CONSTITUENTS IN
FINAL NOUN PHRASE, FOR INSTANCE, IS NOT
EMBEDDED IN THE VERB PHRASE.
MOTHER ARE NOT SEPARATE CONSTITUENTS IN
THE SENTENCE BUT EMBEDDED IN THE VERB
clauses and sentences differ from words and phrases in that they can additionally be analyzed
into clause functions: subject, predicator, object (direct or indirect), complement(subject or
object), and adverbial.
The child rode a bicycle
The child functions as subject, rode as predicator, and a bike as direct object While the verb
within the predicator dictates which clause functions can occur within a clause, how functions
such as subject and object are defined is determined by a series of linguistic characteristics that
each function possesses and that distinguish one function from another. Onecharacteristic is
positional: subjects tend to occur before the verb, objects after the verb
All sentences consist of an obligatory main clause and one or more optional
subordinate clause . a clause becomes subordinate if it:
(1) lacks a finite verb and instead contains one or more non-finite verbs;or
(2) is headed by a subordinating conjunction such as when, if, because, or who
[Thinking he was taking a call from the FBI liaison man in London to announce Simon
Cormack’s release,] Michael Odell did not mind the hour: 5 a.m. in Washing
As the term ‘subordinate’ suggests, a subordinate clause is always part of a main clause. In the
example above, the opening clause , which contains the non-finite participle thinking, is
subordinate to the main clause , which is marked by the finite auxiliary which is in the past tense
Clause functions are best defined in terms of their relationship to one another
. linguistic criteria need to be considered to determine which function a particular element in
a clause should have. For instance, noun phrases can function as subject, object,
complement,or adverbial. However, whether a noun phrase is functioning as, subject or
direct object will depend upon the relationship the noun phrase has with the predicator.